Episode 51

Hamilton got it wrong, Aaron Burr historian tells us the truth

🎙️

Shawn Curtis is a 24-year veteran Social Studies Teacher with a Master's in Education. He has been a teacher in Wyoming, New Jersey, Ohio, and Indiana and has taught a variety of subjects that have included Economics, Government, and yes our favorite...History!

Shawn has studied culture all over the world, from working in a Russian Orphanage, helping construct a school in Guatemala, to leading students to Greece, Italy, France, and this summer to Eastern Europe.

2 summers ago, they received a grant from the Eli Lilly Foundation to travel Route 66 for 2 weeks and record American culture in a pandemic world.

Shawn's TRUE historical passion is the stories of the underdog and those that history has wounded. His classroom is framed with pictures of figures like Jack Johnson, Josh Gibson, and Aaron Burr.

Shawn has been a card-carrying member of the Aaron Burr Association ever since he first discovered the history of Aaron Burr at the University of Wyoming in the 90s, and he has been working to clear Burr's name ever since.

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Transcript
Scott:

welcome to Talk With History.

Scott:

I'm your host Scott, here with my wife and historian Jen.

Scott:

Hello.

Scott:

On this podcast, we give you insights to our history inspired World Travels

Scott:

YouTube channel journey, and examine history through deeper conversations

Scott:

with the curious, the explorers, and the history lovers out there.

Scott:

Now tonight, as you can see, we finally have another guest back

Scott:

on, first Guest of the New Year.

Scott:

Today we are joined by Sean Curtis, a colleague of Jen's,

Scott:

teacher and card carrying member of the Erin Burr Association.

Scott:

Welcome, Sean

Shawn:

Hello.

Shawn:

Thank you for having me.

Scott:

Absolutely happy to have you.

Scott:

Now, before we get into chatting with Sean, I do want to ask for anybody

Scott:

that's watching the live stream, go ahead and give it a, like, share the video.

Scott:

If you are listening on the Talk with History podcast, please share it.

Scott:

Leave us a review on Apple Podcast or Spotify, wherever you're listening,

Scott:

because the reviews truly help us grow and the sooner you give

Scott:

us those likes, the sooner we can catch up to the History Channel.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

With their millions upon millions of followers.

Scott:

So please help us out.

Scott:

, we're coming for you.

Scott:

History Channel.

Shawn:

All they're talking about is aliens and Nazis, right?

Shawn:

So you've

Scott:

yeah, we're gonna, we can bring history back to the History channel

Scott:

if they ever want to have a song.

Scott:

So,

Scott:

all right, now our.

Shawn:

right?

Shawn:

They've burned out all their

Scott:

That's right, that's right.

Scott:

Now our guest tonight is Sean Curtis, as I said earlier, and Sean

Scott:

is a 24 year veteran social studies teacher with a master's in education.

Scott:

He's been a teacher in Wyoming, New Jersey, Ohio, and Indiana, and has

Scott:

taught a variety of subjects that have included economics, government, and

Scott:

yes, our favorite history, . Shawn has studied culture all over the world

Scott:

from working in a Russian orphanage, helping construct a school in Guatemala

Scott:

to leading students to Greece, Italy, France, and this summer to Eastern Europe.

Scott:

Two summers ago, he even received a grant from the Eli Lilly Foundation to

Scott:

Travel Route 66 for two weeks to record American culture in a pandemic world.

Scott:

That's such a cool opportunity Now, Sean's true historical passion is

Scott:

the stories of the underdog and those that history has wounded.

Scott:

His classroom is framed with pictures of figures like Jack Johnson,

Scott:

Josh Gibson, and yes, Aaron Burr.

Scott:

Sean has been a card carrying member of the Aaron Burr Association ever since

Scott:

he first discovered the history of Aaron Burr at the University of Wyoming, but

Scott:

way back in the nineties, and he has been working a clear burr's name ever since.

Scott:

So, welcome and thank you so much for joining us tonight, Sean.

Scott:

Yes, thank

Shawn:

century, right?

Scott:

That's right, tell us a little bit about yourself, maybe

Scott:

some stuff I didn't cover, and how you discovered Aaron Burr and , got

Scott:

hooked on that underdog history

Shawn:

sure.

Shawn:

Let me clear up one historical mistruth right away.

Scott:

All right.

Shawn:

in the Aaron Bur Association, our dues are due on Aaron Burr's

Shawn:

birthday, which is February 6th.

Shawn:

And this year I did not send them in on time.

Shawn:

I

Scott:

Oh, no.

Shawn:

So the check is getting to the people.

Shawn:

So right now, be honest, I'm between my cards,

Scott:

Okay.

Scott:

All right,

Shawn:

Stuart, if you're listening, they're on their way.

Shawn:

And I will be an Aaron Burr Berg card caring member again

Shawn:

great, a great question.

Shawn:

So, when I went to the University of Wyoming in education and had to

Shawn:

take quite a few history classes and I took, actually took an extra year.

Shawn:

One of the classes I took was a class with Dr.

Shawn:

Frank Van Nas called History of the US West, which I've had the opportunity to

Shawn:

teach at, at, at, at high school as well.

Shawn:

So it's been fun.

Shawn:

But the thing that stands out the most in my mind from that semester was he was

Shawn:

talking about the treason trial of Aaron Burr and how Aaron Burr was accused by

Shawn:

Jefferson of trying to secede the western half of the United States from the east.

Shawn:

A lightning moment I thought.

Shawn:

I've never heard this in any history class I've ever been in.

Shawn:

I, we all took US history, we took US history in whatever grades

Shawn:

we had to take at eighth grade.

Shawn:

11th grade took so many history classes in college for US history

Shawn:

cuz you take the basic US history and then the social history.

Shawn:

And never once did I hear anything about Aaron Burr other than

Shawn:

he killed Alexander Hamilton.

Shawn:

Of course the famous milk ad, with the peanut butter and the Aaron

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

With the peanut butter.

Commercial:

And that was the Vienna wood dancing D one of my all-time favorites.

Commercial:

And now let's make that random call with today's $10,000 question.

Commercial:

It's a tough one.

Commercial:

Who shot Alexander Hamilton in that famous duel?

Commercial:

All right, let's go to the phones and see who's out there.

Commercial:

Hello, hello for $10,000.

Commercial:

Who?

Commercial:

Sh.

Commercial:

Excuse me.

Commercial:

Hang on.

Commercial:

Lemme mom, I'm afraid your time is almost done.

Commercial:

I'm sorry.

Commercial:

Maybe next time

Commercial:

got.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

That's how people knew that

Jenn:

before

Shawn:

It's, yeah.

Shawn:

Yeah.

Shawn:

It's all people ever talked about was all Aaron Burr was, was the

Shawn:

killer of Alexander Hamilton.

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Scott:

. Yep.

Shawn:

I thought, oh my gosh, this guy has a whole life beyond the Hamilton

Shawn:

story, where he was embroiled in these politics in the west and arrested and

Shawn:

taken to a treason trial on horseback with John Marshall presiding and his

Shawn:

lawyer was Washington Irving and Luther Martin and in Henry Clay as a lawyer.

Shawn:

And he was embroiled into stuff with Andrew Jackson and, and William Henry

Shawn:

Harrison, and so many great names in American history that were all tied

Shawn:

to this trial that he was a part of.

Shawn:

And gosh, I've, this is so new, this history that they've just left him out.

Shawn:

It's settled law that Aaron Burr was a villain.

Shawn:

He killed Hamilton and that was it.

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Shawn:

weirdly enough I was walking around campus one day and the

Shawn:

library was having a book sale.

Shawn:

and I went in Cuz oh Books, history . And they had a 25

Shawn:

cent copy of Gore Dolls Burr,

Shawn:

just sitting on the table that no one was buying.

Shawn:

Pick it up and read it.

Shawn:

And I was just, I was hooked.

Shawn:

All the things that Burr did and his ideologies, how he tried to get women

Shawn:

the right to vote and fought for win's rights, and fought to free the slaves

Shawn:

Mannu mission in New York and brought water to the people of New York.

Shawn:

He's the inventor of Chase Manhattan Bank, where he brought freshwater

Shawn:

to people, the cure cholera, that Hamilton and him were law partners and

Shawn:

tried the first murder trial together in New York and that they, hung out.

Shawn:

And all this story upon story within, and I know it's historical

Shawn:

fiction, but I was, this is amazing.

Shawn:

And so what else can I do to find more about this?

Shawn:

And so I, it.

Shawn:

The early days of the internet back then, and looked up stuff.

Shawn:

And they told me that there was a professor from American University in

Shawn:

Washington DC named Samuel Engel Burr, who had taught long ago a class on Aaron Burr.

Shawn:

And Kim, the founder of the movement.

Shawn:

He had formed the Aaron Bur Association.

Shawn:

And I said, gosh, where can I find this guy's work?

Shawn:

And so I looked and they said, you can find this work

Shawn:

at the University of Wyoming.

Shawn:

What?

Shawn:

And so I went in the library and sure enough, weird coincidence, Sam

Shawn:

Lee bur the founder of the Aaron Bur Association, had given his entire

Shawn:

Aaron Bur library to whatever professor probably Phil Roberts is what people said.

Shawn:

Dr.

Shawn:

Roberts, who you know well known at University of Wyoming to give

Shawn:

him his library as colleagues.

Shawn:

And so down in the basement of Coli at the University of Wyoming

Shawn:

is an entire Aaron Bur library.

Shawn:

Dossier is on Aaron Burr from Napoleon, his lecture notes from

Shawn:

his class, just on and on and on.

Shawn:

And I, I, I stayed down there and that they, picked up a book called

Shawn:

fatal Friendship by Arnold Roo, all about kind of the, the love hate

Shawn:

relationship between Hamilton and Burr.

Shawn:

And wrote Arnold Roo, who was still alive at the time and said, you're

Shawn:

a member of the Bur Association.

Shawn:

How do I become a member of the Bur Association?

Shawn:

And he gave me their, and I've been a member ever since

Scott:

Quite a history for yourself in Yeah.

Scott:

In becoming involved in that.

Scott:

Now if I, if I'm gonna step back a little bit, cuz I'm definitely gonna

Scott:

dive down some of those rabbit holes with you here in, in just a little bit.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

I wanna do that too.

Scott:

But one of the things that I, I wanna touch on really quickly

Scott:

first is the video, right?

Scott:

So , we just posted our video about the, , the grave site

Scott:

of the female stranger, right?

Scott:

In, in Alexandria.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

And one of it sounds like one of the running theories that this grave

Scott:

site is potentially the grave site of Aaron Burr's, daughter Theodosia burr.

Scott:

. Alston.

Scott:

Now.

Scott:

. For folks who have watched the video, and if you're watching this video or

Scott:

listening to the podcast after the fact, I encourage you to go watch the video.

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Scott:

and I'm curious if that's a, a running theory that that's discussed in, in

Scott:

the Aaron Bur association's circles.

Scott:

Cuz I think Yeah, I think you were one of the earlier comments

Scott:

that we saw on the on the video.

Shawn:

So we would probably be in disagreement with it,

Scott:

Okay.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Cuz

Jenn:

you probably don't give it any

Jenn:

credence probably,

Shawn:

heard all kinds of stuff that it's almost like an Anastasia type deal where

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Oh,

Shawn:

forward afterwards and pretending to be theodosia.

Shawn:

Cuz she was, she was quite the celebrity of the time.

Shawn:

As far as women went, she was outspoken.

Shawn:

She was well learned.

Shawn:

She, they said she had an IQ of 175,

Scott:

Whoa.

Scott:

Wow.

Shawn:

yeah.

Shawn:

, right?

Shawn:

And she, Erin, and that, that was purposeful because Burr was such

Shawn:

a huge supporter of women's rights and he hadn't been necessarily

Shawn:

a supporter of women's right.

Shawn:

Early on in his life at Princeton when he was young and in the

Shawn:

military where he was drifting.

Shawn:

But once he met her mother, Theodosia Theodosia was a big fan of Mary Wall.

Shawn:

Stone Craft.

Shawn:

The early feminist writer, Mary Shelly's mom, and

Jenn:

Mary Shelly's mom.

Jenn:

Mm-hmm.

Shawn:

he read it and absorbed it.

Shawn:

And when they had, they actually had four kids.

Shawn:

Thei had kids from her first marriage with George Prevo.

Shawn:

She was much older than her.

Shawn:

They had four kids together.

Shawn:

Two of them died as Stillbirths.

Shawn:

Their daughter Sally died when she was two, and Theodosia was the only child to

Shawn:

live on, and she was his pride and joy.

Shawn:

And so one of the things he'll write and write to Theodosia his wife, and then I'll

Shawn:

write a lot to Theodosia, his daughter.

Shawn:

Was that through them, they taught him what he didn't know before and what

Shawn:

wasn't popular at the time that women.

Shawn:

Are powerful, that women can think that women have an equality that they deserve.

Shawn:

And so he was gonna prove it through her.

Shawn:

So they raised her to speak Greek, Latin, French language upon language

Shawn:

upon language study, mass study

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Shawn:

could debate anything at any party with anybody.

Shawn:

And so she was popular and

Scott:

Yeah,

Shawn:

of a huge figure of the day.

Shawn:

And so, yeah, like I said, it's almost an Anastasia type thing where people were

Shawn:

claiming to be her, but the letters that they wrote to each other were legendary.

Shawn:

Matthew Davis, his biographer kept all i the letters that he didn't burn when

Shawn:

he was editing burr's life is that, this love story between father and daughter.

Shawn:

And HW Brands wrote a really good book called The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr.

Shawn:

Which is all about that relationship between him and Theo.

Shawn:

And if it was her in that grave and she lived two years beyond her death there's

Shawn:

no correspondence between the two of them.

Shawn:

And he

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Why would she not talk to her

Shawn:

Yeah.

Shawn:

Why would she not talk to him?

Shawn:

Why would she not write to her husband who was also devastated and basically

Shawn:

led to his death from misery sickness?

Shawn:

So

Scott:

I think , you're a lot like Jen when it comes to history.

Scott:

, you're not gonna sugarcoat it.

Scott:

, this is the fact, this is.

Scott:

, it seems very improbable.

Scott:

. And, and I think even Jen talks through that in the video.

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Scott:

a little bit.

Scott:

You talk through

Scott:

of like This doesn't make sense that it would be her Yeah.

Scott:

Because of these reasons and those

Shawn:

Yeah, and showing up with a new husband and I, I was reading that

Shawn:

some people thought it was Napoleon in disguise dressed like a woman that he'd

Shawn:

escaped, and that's before he went back

Jenn:

stay

Shawn:

recapture France.

Shawn:

And there's just a whole lot of different people that it might've been, but it

Shawn:

just, for us, it, I would, I would assume, but I don't wanna speak for the

Shawn:

whole Aaron Bur association, but it, it just, from the biographies and the

Shawn:

readings, there's just no correspondence.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

So one of the questions I had for you, Sean was one of these

Jenn:

portraits of Theodosia and there's a couple portraits of her.

Jenn:

They ended up at Yale and even though Burr is associated with

Jenn:

Princeton, because and he's buried at Princeton, her portraits are at Yale.

Jenn:

And why are her portraits at Yale?

Shawn:

So it's a, it's a family history.

Shawn:

The burs, the family burr is from Connecticut.

Shawn:

They're from Fairfield, Connecticut with the first Burr, who is j

Shawn:

Huber came over from England.

Shawn:

They centered themselves as ministers and reverends in Connecticut.

Shawn:

They were very well-to-do Reverend Family, the burs, and they married

Shawn:

into other Reverend families.

Shawn:

So, for example, Aaron Burr's Grandpa was Jonathan Edwards, the founder of

Shawn:

The Great Awakening as a preacher.

Shawn:

On his mother's side.

Shawn:

So the Edwards married the

Scott:

Wow.

Shawn:

and so the Yale archives is all the Burr family papers from all the births

Shawn:

in Connecticut and Aaron Burr's stuff

Jenn:

Mm-hmm.

Shawn:

mixed in because it was passed down to cousins and then

Shawn:

the cousins donated to Yale.

Shawn:

Burr's family were the founders of Princeton with Jonathan

Jenn:

Mm-hmm.

Shawn:

So his dad, Aaron Burr Sr, was one of the founding fathers of Princeton.

Shawn:

And Burr went there and he is buried there and his father's buried there.

Shawn:

His mother buried nearby,

Scott:

That's, that's one of the things that I appreciate about having

Scott:

subject matter experts like yourself on, on history topics like this.

Scott:

Because to your point we opened up saying like, yeah, everybody knows

Scott:

Burr for . basically two things.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Shooting Hamilton and possibly, all, all this bad stuff he was accused of later.

Scott:

But there's, there's so many interesting things, right?

Scott:

As someone who is around in such a pi, , the core pivotal era mm-hmm.

Scott:

, of the founding of this country.

Scott:

It's, now that you talk about it, I'm not surprised that his family founded.

Scott:

An institution here.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And was, was, working, and worked with, numerous famous other historical figures.

Scott:

But again, when it comes down to high school history, you get, you don't

Scott:

get to get into the weeds like that.

Scott:

You get the, yep.

Scott:

Here's the two sentences about the third vice president of the United States.

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Scott:

. And that's most, that's mostly it, right?

Scott:

We don't get

Shawn:

Well, and even some of the books just don't even research at all.

Shawn:

They use lazy research because for them, Aaron Burr's, life of Settled History.

Shawn:

I have a AP textbook we used in ap.

Shawn:

His AP u s history.

Shawn:

that said Aaron Burr was guilty of Seceding the West when John

Shawn:

Marshall found him not guilty and seven courts found him not guilty.

Shawn:

But the book says he was guilty cuz it's lazy

Jenn:

settled history, I like that term.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Settled history is like what people just assume Aaron Burr was a villain

Shawn:

right.

Jenn:

because like it's, it's just settled.

Jenn:

Like that's who he is and that's, and it, you

Jenn:

know,

Shawn:

my favorite Aaron Sorkin line in the social network is

Shawn:

Every creation myth needs a devil.

Scott:

Hmm.

Shawn:

And Aaron burs that devil.

Scott:

yeah.

Jenn:

Got you.

Jenn:

Sure.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

So, so what's the biggest misconception then about Burr if

Jenn:

you know that he wasn't a devil?

Jenn:

That he's not this like lackadaisical guy like in Hamilton who doesn't pick

Jenn:

a side and is cowardice in a way.

Jenn:

Like that's not who he is.

Shawn:

Well.

Shawn:

So with that Aaron Burr would write about politics as a game.

Shawn:

He wrote, it's a game for fun, for profit.

Shawn:

He saw the sport in it.

Shawn:

He saw what he could do with it.

Shawn:

He saw that he could maneuver through it.

Shawn:

And so, that's not really off character for him as much as it is.

Shawn:

I, what I like about the musical is for the first time, somebody kind of

Shawn:

little bit put some empathy into him, like he's not just this cold calculating

Shawn:

person who shot Alexander Hamilton.

Shawn:

He is got feelings.

Shawn:

He loves his daughter, he loves the country.

Shawn:

But his life was set for him.

Shawn:

If you're gonna talk about like early privilege in America, his life was

Shawn:

created for him and he hated it.

Shawn:

He didn't want the life for him.

Shawn:

They wanted him to be a minister.

Shawn:

So they sent him to Princeton to train him to be a minister.

Shawn:

He ran away from home quite frequently.

Shawn:

I mean his, well, when he was young.

Shawn:

So his mom and dad both died when he was a kid and his sister Sally.

Shawn:

And then they moved in with Jonathan Edwards and his wife Jonathan Edwards, of

Shawn:

course being very stern sinners from the hands of an angry God minister, right?

Shawn:

And then they died.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Fire.

Scott:

Fire and brimstone.

Shawn:

Yeah, Firestone, find God and before it's too late, and then they died.

Shawn:

And so Aaron Burr and his sister were left basically as orphans as little kids.

Shawn:

And they moved in with his uncle in Connecticut, who was also,

Shawn:

they pushing the Reverend thing.

Shawn:

And Aaron Burr ran away from home again, again and again, again.

Shawn:

He was gonna be a lawyer and he became like one of the best

Shawn:

lawyers as far as people could see.

Shawn:

He was ki like I said, aimless in where he wanted to be and what he wanted to do.

Shawn:

And whereas Hamilton obviously was more focused, but it allowed, I think

Shawn:

if you read the books, Aaron Burr, to be friendlier more of somebody

Shawn:

you'd want to hang out with, less of an ideologue than Hamilton was.

Shawn:

I think it was one of the writers, I think it was either Arnold Roo

Shawn:

or Thomas Fleming who said that Hamilton was com very combative.

Shawn:

He was his way or no way.

Shawn:

And if you crossed him, you were finished.

Shawn:

Burr was just like, let's hang out.

Shawn:

Let's talk politics, let's play chess, let's have parties.

Scott:

Yeah.

Shawn:

so I don't think that was too far off in the play.

Shawn:

But the idea that he didn't love the country and want the same

Shawn:

things, what he did, he fought, he's a revolutionary soldier.

Shawn:

He is famous for the Battle of Quebec, where he carried General Montgomery

Shawn:

out of the battlefield on his back.

Shawn:

When General Montgomery was shot, which drew his attention to George Washington,

Shawn:

who made him one of his aides, which

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Shawn:

Burr was not the best military aid.

Shawn:

That's where he about Hamilton.

Shawn:

He would read George Washington's mail.

Shawn:

He's famous in some circles, in some theories that he would pass a

Shawn:

rumor that George Washington should be called his Royal Pear Shapeness.

Shawn:

Cause tiny head big,

Scott:

Oh, wow.

Scott:

Yeah.

Shawn:

his,

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So, so you, yeah.

Scott:

So, so you mentioned some of the accuracies in inaccuracies

Scott:

of of Hamilton, like when, when Hamilton first came out, right?

Scott:

We, we have to, let's just broach the Hamilton topic now,

Scott:

the play and all that stuff.

Scott:

Like, I have the book when, when that first came out,

Scott:

when it first hit the scene.

Scott:

Like h how did, how did the whole you your what?

Scott:

What'd you call yourself earlier before we were on air?

Scott:

The, the Burr rights.

Scott:

The bur

Scott:

rights.

Scott:

Is that, how did the Bur Right community react to, to Hamilton?

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And just kind of like, what was a little bit of a vilification, of Aaron Burr.

Scott:

It's, it twofold,

Jenn:

right?

Jenn:

Because Aaron Burr is telling the story, so it's cool that he gets to

Jenn:

narrate a whole story, but then it is ki you're not telling a complete

Scott:

story.

Shawn:

There's a, there's a lot of omission in it

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Shawn:

from my thought, I just, I would say that, and again, not speaking for

Shawn:

everybody, but just knowing what I know and knowing kind of the, the pain of

Shawn:

people who support Aaron Burr, it's a long history of trying to fight against the.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Yeah,

Shawn:

lot of people still who have a very vested interest in keeping Aaron Burr

Shawn:

from a positive view in the history books.

Shawn:

And it's in the lecture notes of Samuel Burr, he writes that he wrote a book

Shawn:

about Theodosia and Burr's relationship.

Shawn:

And the publisher told him if this was anti bur I'd publish it, but

Shawn:

it's pro-Burr so I can't publish it.

Shawn:

Cuz he's seen as a

Scott:

interesting.

Scott:

Oh

Shawn:

And I've faced off against people before who tell me that I'm a traitor.

Shawn:

That I support a traitor, that I can't possibly love this country

Shawn:

because my idol is a traitor.

Shawn:

And again, he was declared not guilty of treason, but,

Shawn:

and there was never any proof.

Shawn:

And John Marshall declared it, but they don't understand, what led to that duel.

Shawn:

And because there's so little information and for B for Bird actually comes back

Shawn:

to theodosia, the, the sadness of it.

Shawn:

is, he had documents, he had papers, he had records of the times of all

Shawn:

these people he associated with.

Shawn:

But when he fled to Europe after the treason trial, he left it with her and she

Shawn:

was bringing it back to him on the ship.

Shawn:

And

Jenn:

the Patriot

Scott:

that was lost.

Scott:

Oh,

Shawn:

went with it, like all these

Scott:

okay.

Shawn:

And so what's left is his private journal, which was edited

Shawn:

by Matthew Davis and any letters he had in correspondence he had after.

Shawn:

And then there's some things of letters that they've gathered from

Shawn:

other people, like he was friends with like Jeremy Bentham and England

Shawn:

and Andrew Jackson and all these people that have letters from him.

Shawn:

But he, he can't defend himself.

Shawn:

And so he became a victim of people re-editing history to pigeonhole him

Shawn:

into the villain and he can't fight back.

Shawn:

And so,

Jenn:

Well, okay, so let's hit on those two things.

Jenn:

What do people not know about the dual, like the dual with Alexander Hamilton?

Jenn:

In the musical.

Jenn:

They make it about the

Jenn:

election, but it wasn't about the

Shawn:

like, if people were critical of it, they would say,

Shawn:

wait, it took four years for his anger to boil over to a dual.

Shawn:

Cause they didn't shoot till 1804 and the election was 1800.

Shawn:

So that's one of the things that I, I liked the music, but that omission in

Shawn:

itself really changes the focus of it.

Shawn:

Cuz again, it might come back to Theodosia and people will disagree

Shawn:

with this or agree with that.

Shawn:

It's a theory.

Shawn:

Aaron Burr put up with a lot of criticism in his life, like

Shawn:

a lot, especially in 1800.

Shawn:

Thomas Jefferson was very good at having people installed in Democratic

Shawn:

Republican post offices, newspaper offices that would just smear, read mail,

Shawn:

publish mail, and Burr took a a on the chin in that and didn't go to War's.

Shawn:

Jefferson, he took on his vice president role and Jefferson was really cold to him.

Shawn:

And there's classic fights between the two of them, like where Jefferson

Shawn:

tried to impeach Justice Chase because he was Federalist and Burr

Shawn:

as president of the Senate stood in his way and said, we can't turn this

Shawn:

chamber into a political monster.

Shawn:

Yeah, so that, that in the musical I'm like, there's a

Shawn:

four year gap people come on.

Shawn:

It's

Jenn:

Mm-hmm.

Jenn:

. Yeah.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

They're not fighting about the

Shawn:

Yeah.

Shawn:

Yeah.

Shawn:

And Burr stopped famously, and this is one thing people probably don't know,

Shawn:

is when the Maria Reynolds affair broke, which I was actually really happy, was

Shawn:

in the play, cuz for a very long time, I don't think Hamiltonians were very

Shawn:

pleased with the Maria Reynolds affair.

Shawn:

I remember asking about it once at the Grange Hamilton's house, and it was not

Shawn:

received well by the tour guide . And that was back in like the early nineties.

Shawn:

James Monroe was responsible for publishing that story or so

Shawn:

Hamilton thought and Hamilton challenged him to a duel.

Shawn:

So Hamilton and Monroe almost went to Duel and Burr was the one

Shawn:

who stood in the way and stopped it and negotiated the dual out.

Shawn:

So they didn't fight and Burr did that a lot.

Shawn:

Like Hamilton would lose his temper, Burr would guide his temper

Shawn:

away cuz they were law partners.

Shawn:

They lived down the street when they lived in lower Manhattan.

Shawn:

The question has always been what would break Aaron Burr to the point where he'd

Shawn:

be willing to go to Wee Hawk and, and have pistols cuz he wasn't a good shot.

Shawn:

People were, well, he was well known as big a bad shot.

Shawn:

He was well known as being someone who didn't play things

Shawn:

based on anger and honor.

Shawn:

Like he took a lot of names, he took a lot of abuse and

Shawn:

didn't declare duals on people.

Shawn:

Hamilton had been involved in almost 11 duals or close

Shawn:

duals And obviously his son.

Shawn:

This is a family streak,

Shawn:

pistols.

Shawn:

were his brother-in-law's.

Shawn:

Angelica's husband John Church, who also wasn't a lot of duals.

Shawn:

And so, The one theory that people have and that people have arrived at is the

Shawn:

thing that would break Aaron Burr is if you took down his relationship with

Shawn:

Theodosia because he loved her more than life and she with the death of

Shawn:

her mom and his wife was his hostess.

Shawn:

Like, just like Thomas Jefferson and his daughter, she was his

Shawn:

host this after his wife died.

Shawn:

While we know is that Hamilton wrote in a newspaper, Wal Burr was running

Shawn:

for governor of New York and willingly Burr changes the Federalist Party cuz

Shawn:

the Democrat Republicans had abandoned him and that was seen as opportunism.

Shawn:

And Hamilton wasn't pleased because he's head of the Federalist Party or was,

Shawn:

and he got hold of his media buddies and he wrote in the paper and spread a

Shawn:

rumor that said, if you think Burr is bad, I have an even worse opinion and

Shawn:

I know something even worse about him, or more despicable he says about him.

Shawn:

And so, Goral and other people speculate that what that was was he was accusing

Shawn:

Aaron Burr of incest with Theodosia.

Shawn:

He would, in private letters, when they would cipher, he would often write, cuz

Shawn:

he was clever, Hamilton was very clever.

Shawn:

He would write Greek character names for like Jefferson and like having two faces.

Shawn:

And he'd write these names for people based on Greek mythology.

Shawn:

And with Burr it was close to, he would sometimes write it according

Shawn:

to some theories that Burr was his character in Greek mythology who

Shawn:

was sleeping with his own family.

Shawn:

And so,

Jenn:

And that was enough to push Burr over the edge?

Shawn:

wrote him a letter and he said, Hey, what is this

Shawn:

opinion that you have of me?

Shawn:

And that's all we know.

Shawn:

Like, we don't know what it was.

Shawn:

Hamilton wrote him back, but Hamilton was so over it like, it's, it's a funny

Shawn:

exchange even though it led to death.

Shawn:

Hamilton instead of apologizing wrote a letter back criticizing

Shawn:

Aaron Burr's grammar.

Shawn:

Like, what's the matter?

Shawn:

Don't you know how to, don't you know how to challenge somebody to a duel?

Shawn:

Don't you know how the stuff starts?

Shawn:

Where's your, where's your commas?

Shawn:

Where's your sentence structure?

Scott:

Talk, talk about a hothead, that, that's Hamilton.

Scott:

that's, that's,

Shawn:

back,

Shawn:

like, what are you doing?

Shawn:

And he wrote, hit back.

Shawn:

And it went on for a month until Burr told him, look, I want you to

Shawn:

apologize for every bad thing you've ever said about me in your life, to

Shawn:

anybody you've ever said anything.

Shawn:

And Hamilton said, no, I'm not gonna do that.

Shawn:

So you better just challenge me.

Shawn:

And so they went to Wee Hawking.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Wow.

Scott:

That's, that's why, it's, it's so funny.

Scott:

Like,

Jenn:

so they don't really even get into that.

Jenn:

They, they just gloss over all of that.

Jenn:

Makes it easier for

Scott:

It's so fun to kind of hear, hear this, this perspective, right?

Scott:

Because again, I, I joke all the time on the podcast, like,

Scott:

I am not a history buff, right?

Scott:

, I, I, I could like tell you a little bit about what Hamilton the play

Scott:

was at, was about, but like, I can't re speak to it intelligently.

Scott:

No.

Scott:

But one of the things you saw once that, that I've enjoyed when we've been down

Scott:

to Colonial Williamsburg a whole bunch of times, and we've talked once or twice

Scott:

about some of the reenactors there.

Scott:

And so Martha Washington, we've got to see her a couple times.

Scott:

And we saw a solo performance that she did for like the audience one time,

Scott:

and she was very good about answering questions from the kids in the audience.

Scott:

So when she would talk about whatever era mm-hmm.

Scott:

she was, saying she was in, whether it's, pre, before her husband was

Scott:

president or after she was newly elected.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Newly elected.

Scott:

He was newly elected.

Scott:

She would answer questions from the audience and she would, if a

Scott:

kid was raising their hand, she would always go right to the kid.

Scott:

And of course, so of course a couple, one or two Hamilton questions came up.

Scott:

And even she in her character would very politely right.

Scott:

As.

Scott:

I guess you would expect of a woman , and, who's the . First Lady or whatever

Scott:

would make these like sly kind of digs.

Scott:

Like, oh, I don't, I'm not gonna really talk too much about Hamilton.

Scott:

There's a reason they call him the

Scott:

Tom Kat and this, that, and the other.

Shawn:

because

Scott:

That's, that's right.

Scott:

So it's, it's always interesting for me to hear more about this.

Scott:

And one of the questions we actually had in the chat from Facebook was, are there,

Scott:

do you know of any Aaron Bur Reenacters?

Scott:

This is a friend of ours, Doug McLarty.

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Scott:

Like there are for Jefferson or Hamilton, and we've come

Scott:

across other, other Reenacters.

Scott:

Have you ever seen or come across any Aaron Burr?

Scott:

Reenacters?

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

I, I imagine that'd be a little bit more

Scott:

rare.

Shawn:

it's gonna be rare, but I'll tell you in 2004, We in the Aaron

Shawn:

Bur Association had a reenactment of the duel for the 200th anniversary

Shawn:

of the due with the hamiltonians.

Scott:

Oh,

Scott:

cool.

Shawn:

There were sit-downs, there were lots of conversations, there

Shawn:

was compromises that were made.

Shawn:

Who's gonna get to speak first, who's gonna get to give the

Shawn:

first interview to the media?

Shawn:

And in that dual, we had Antonio Burr, who's one of our most prominent

Shawn:

members, and very scholarly.

Shawn:

If I know things about Aaron Burr, he knows everything.

Shawn:

, Aaron Burr is quite

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Yeah.

Shawn:

He's one of our vice presidents of the organization.

Shawn:

He played Aaron Burr in that reenactment.

Shawn:

So, but otherwise, very uncommon.

Shawn:

Definitely the guy the guy who

Jenn:

I thought you talked to someone at the Capitol building?

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Okay.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

I thought you talked to someone at the Capitol building in DC who played

Jenn:

Burr, and you asked him a couple questions and he knew some of the stuff.

Jenn:

I remember you posting something like that on Facebook,

Shawn:

yeah, I mean there was, during Obama's first inauguration, they had

Shawn:

the Jefferson, the guy who was the most prominent Jefferson Reactor, who I've

Shawn:

met several times at several conferences.

Shawn:

George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Shawn:

In my I may have gotten into it with the Jefferson Read actor, cuz

Shawn:

he called Aaron Burris Scoundrel.

Shawn:

I told him I'd give him a, I told him I'd give him a book list to read

Scott:

Oh my

Shawn:

never heard about Andrew Jackson being involved in the trees in trial.

Shawn:

And I said, well baby, you need to read some of these books so that Mr.

Shawn:

Jefferson

Scott:

Yeah.

Shawn:

George Washington didn't wanna talk to me Afterwards.

Shawn:

He goes, you don't have any questions for me, do you like, I'm good.

Shawn:

I'm just, I'm just a punk kid who

Shawn:

One last thing about the duel, because I do want to get this out there because

Shawn:

it's one of those unco un unknown things and it's definitely not in the play.

Shawn:

He does mention the play once that, when, the, in the rap that Hamilton

Shawn:

was wearing his glasses, right?

Shawn:

Which came from Hamilton second pen Pendleton, Nathaniel Pendleton the,

Shawn:

so Chase Manhattan, the bank in New York City has the guns because Aaron

Shawn:

Burr is the founder of the Manhattan Company, which became Chase Manhattan.

Shawn:

They're in a vault.

Shawn:

One time I was sweet talk enough when I lived in New York City to get in

Shawn:

there and got to put on the white gloves and I got to hold the guns.

Scott:

No

Scott:

way.

Scott:

That's so cool.

Shawn:

in the seventies for the, by out all the fields and they're, and

Shawn:

again, they're John Church's guns, so they're Hamilton's brother-in-laws.

Shawn:

They're the same guns that Philip was killed with cuz he used them in

Scott:

Yes.

Shawn:

family used these guns and there's a reason they used these guns

Shawn:

is in 19, the, the paperwork they gave me that in 1976 for the bicentennial,

Shawn:

they were gonna make cast molds of the guns to put out, like, to sell like

Shawn:

Franklin Min or whatever they're doing.

Jenn:

Replicas.

Jenn:

yeah.

Shawn:

had to open the guns and when they opened the guns, they found something

Shawn:

that nobody had known before, that these guns were completely set up to win.

Shawn:

John Church was a cheater in these guns.

Shawn:

So first of all, they're waited in the front.

Shawn:

, which is illegal in dueling cuz the gun was supposed to fly, right?

Shawn:

You weren't supposed to actually kill anybody.

Shawn:

It was just supposed to show up and be a man.

Shawn:

And then the gun would fly up.

Shawn:

The bullet would fly off and you'd be like,

Scott:

Just, just because the

Scott:

kick.

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Shawn:

let's hook it out now.

Shawn:

Because we, we did it, we showed we were

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Yeah.

Shawn:

Secondly, they both have sites, which there should not be sites and guns.

Shawn:

But the real trick was there was a spring inside of both guns.

Shawn:

And that if you push the trigger forward, sort of backwards, it

Shawn:

released a tension mechanism inside so that you're not putting as much

Shawn:

pressure on the back pole of the gun.

Shawn:

All you have to do is tap it.

Shawn:

And so whoever knew to push the trigger forward just had to tap

Shawn:

the pistol and the bullet would fly faster than the other gun.

Shawn:

And

Scott:

Whoa.

Shawn:

speculation Hamilton, Pulse is going well.

Shawn:

According to Hamilton second Pendleton, Hamilton was gonna fire

Shawn:

into the air cuz he is a gentleman and didn't want burn him to die.

Shawn:

But again, Hamilton had been in lots of dues

Shawn:

at that point hated Burr with a passion and, had lost his own political affair.

Shawn:

And I think it's Roo who speculates, he was also dying possibly of stomach cancer

Shawn:

at the same time and was hiding it.

Shawn:

And this is a way to take at himself and Burr in the speculation.

Shawn:

Again, it's all speculation.

Shawn:

Burr second William VanNess said that Hamilton was practicing his shot,

Shawn:

holding the gun, aiming, and then he put on his glasses so he can get a

Shawn:

good shot and that he brought the gun down and as he brought the gun down,

Shawn:

it fired quickly and went into a tree.

Shawn:

So the possibility, again, putting it out there.

Shawn:

No proof, but the guns themselves would lead you to believe that if that is true,

Shawn:

that Hamilton had pushed the trigger forward and misfired on that quick shot

Shawn:

or maybe accidentally pushed the trigger forward and misfired on the quick shot,

Shawn:

and then Burr just hit a lucky bullet

Scott:

I have ne I've

Shawn:

and penetrated Hamilton in two different ways that killed him.

Shawn:

And nobody ever talks about that

Scott:

No,

Scott:

that's super.

Scott:

I've never heard that about the guns and yeah, like I've, I think I've

Scott:

heard a little bit about like, him putting the glasses on that he's

Scott:

intending to take the be right.

Scott:

A little bit of here and there, but nothing like that.

Scott:

That's, that changes the whole

Shawn:

does, and it's

Scott:

That's

Shawn:

papers they give out at the Chase Manhattan Bank.

Shawn:

I just don't know how many people know.

Shawn:

That they've got the archives there of it and that they cracked it open

Shawn:

in the seventies to, to know that.

Shawn:

And again, all speculation, all you hamiltonians out there, I don't know.

Shawn:

There's no proof just putting it out there.

Shawn:

You do your own critical thinking.

Shawn:

All do my critical thinking and I'm gonna stand with Burr second in his perspective.

Shawn:

You stand with your perspective.

Shawn:

It's

Scott:

yeah.

Scott:

. So moving on to the Treason trial.

Scott:

So I, so I'm curious because again, this is one of those

Scott:

things, for , the general learner.

Scott:

, I've probably heard about it.

Scott:

I was like, oh, yeah, you, I never heard he got put on trial for

Scott:

something or other, some sort of treason, but I was like, yeah.

Scott:

Then nothing ever happened.

Scott:

What's , the backstory on

Shawn:

the backstory is obviously Burr was out of power.

Shawn:

Not

Scott:

Yep.

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Shawn:

like a vice president who killed the most popular Secretary of

Shawn:

the Treasury who invented our economic system, , and he was tried for murder.

Scott:

Yeah.

Shawn:

In New York, even though it was, and again, I'm not gonna

Shawn:

justify it, but it was completely legal to have dues in New Jersey.

Shawn:

That's why they went and they went on it.

Shawn:

And so he was obviously disgraced.

Shawn:

And that's usually what happened in dues.

Shawn:

When you read about dues.

Shawn:

The person who lived is the person who then had to bear the weight of being

Shawn:

an awful person for actually killing

Scott:

Yeah.

Shawn:

And so Burr lived in what is, well now what's Greenwich Village in New York?

Shawn:

In the village used to be, his entire estate was Richmond Hill.

Shawn:

So like if you go to a restaurant down there, one, if I see it's,

Shawn:

it was his carriage house.

Shawn:

There's Gate was at Barrack Street, all kinds of stuff.

Shawn:

Actually, if you go down to the Village, I think it's on sixth Avenue and

Shawn:

fourth Street, there's a McDonald's.

Shawn:

And if you go to the bathrooms at the McDonald's, there's a picture of

Shawn:

Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton that this used to be, where they walked

Shawn:

so, Burr is disgraced.

Shawn:

He's never gonna get power again with the Democrat Republican party.

Shawn:

Basically Jefferson ousted him.

Shawn:

Jefferson had already been angry at him for lots of stuff.

Shawn:

First of all, they tied for the presidency, and Burr didn't refuse

Shawn:

it, which Jefferson wanted him to.

Shawn:

Okay, well you weren't supposed to be president.

Shawn:

This happened by accident.

Shawn:

It's my turn, basically.

Shawn:

And Burr says, I got as many votes as you did.

Shawn:

I'm just as entitled to it as you are.

Shawn:

And it was actually, they set that up because they wanted to eliminate Adam.

Shawn:

and Burr was very popular in New York, so they thought he could

Shawn:

take the northern vote and just get squeak underneath Jefferson.

Shawn:

And of course, back then, if you got second place, you

Shawn:

became vice president, right?

Shawn:

And like I said, he refused to impeach justice chase for political

Shawn:

reasons as president of the Senate.

Shawn:

And that was after he killed Hamilton.

Shawn:

He stood up, made an impassioned speech in the Senate and said, if

Shawn:

we're gonna preserve something to the effect of we're gonna preserve the

Shawn:

Senate, we've got to make it free of corruption, of political corruption.

Shawn:

It has to be an institution of just an honor.

Shawn:

And people applauded.

Shawn:

And then he left.

Shawn:

And then basically Jefferson was done with him at that point,

Shawn:

which leads to the treason trial.

Shawn:

Jefferson had a vendetta against him.

Scott:

Yeah.

Shawn:

himself had so many vendettas, but whole big thing, . So Burr is outta power.

Shawn:

Needs power starts to make friends with kind of these people from the west,

Shawn:

the western farmers from Tennessee and Kentucky that are in Ohio that are

Shawn:

starting to become a political force because the Democrat Republicans have

Shawn:

ousted the Federalists and Democrat Republicans of the common man.

Shawn:

The common farmer Burr was one of the instrumental people in getting them the

Shawn:

right to vote, especially in New York as Attorney General, so that, they could

Shawn:

vote too, not just landed property people.

Shawn:

And they were the party of immigrants and they were the party

Shawn:

of, like I said, farmers, like Jefferson said, gentlemen farmers.

Shawn:

And so

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Shawn:

was hanging out with them all the time and they, their complaints

Shawn:

were the Mississippi River.

Shawn:

They had no way to transport.

Shawn:

. No way.

Shawn:

Because Spain was always there.

Shawn:

Spain was always doing shenanigans to New Orleans and the Mississippi

Shawn:

to block their transports.

Shawn:

And there was no way to get stuff overland through the Appalachians.

Shawn:

Mississippi was there heart and if you're running for president or

Shawn:

you're looking for a popular thing, you're looking for what's popular.

Shawn:

And for them, Spain being the enemy was popular and he wasn't the first.

Shawn:

Everybody else was like, we should go invade Florida.

Shawn:

We should go invade Texas.

Shawn:

Mexico at the time and we should take Spain out cause they're

Shawn:

cutting trade on the Mississippi.

Shawn:

They're sending raids into Georgia.

Shawn:

They're from Florida.

Shawn:

We should take all this stuff.

Shawn:

And it's, it's not uncommon that even Jefferson thought about it.

Shawn:

Hamilton thought about it during the quai war of 18 90, 80, formed an army.

Shawn:

and he was gonna march on the, on Spain until Adams wanting his power back,

Shawn:

signed the treaty with, with France so that Spain wouldn't have to fight.

Shawn:

And Hamilton lost his commission passed his anti-immigrant legislation.

Shawn:

So Hamilton

Scott:

Thank you.

Shawn:

the alien

Jenn:

Immigrant anti-immigrant legislation.

Shawn:

alien illegal aliens, and even immigrants, and tried to

Shawn:

curb people criticizing government for all of his free speech.

Shawn:

But Burr is looking for popularity.

Shawn:

He's looking for a way to get back into power as far as we know.

Shawn:

Like I said, a lot of his letters and a lot of speculation

Shawn:

exists that, why did he do that?

Shawn:

What, what actually happened at West?

Shawn:

Who knows?

Shawn:

There's so many people involved in this that have watered it down,

Shawn:

changed stuff, doctored letters but basically what's happening is Jefferson

Shawn:

had bought the Louisiana purchase.

Shawn:

And he was planning Lewis and Clark's expedition.

Shawn:

And one of the things Jefferson did was appointed a guy named general James

Shawn:

Wilkinson as governor of Louisiana Territory, like the whole territory.

Shawn:

And James Wilkinson had been well known by Bird during the revolution as a guy

Shawn:

who played fast and loose at the rules as a soldier, it's a possibility he tried

Shawn:

to launch a coup against Washington at one point that bur himself stopped by

Shawn:

taking the bullets out of the soldier's guns before they could launch the coup.

Shawn:

But Wilkinson was just a, a free for all spirit who lived by his own rules.

Shawn:

And now we know from documents that he was also probably a triple agent and

Shawn:

working for Spain at the same time.

Shawn:

Desy on

Scott:

Oh, holy cow.

Shawn:

our governor of Louisiana.

Scott:

Oh,

Shawn:

as Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark James Wilkinson sent pike into the West.

Shawn:

And what we can only assume, again through letters and documents is that

Shawn:

Pike went too far and Pike ventured in New Mexico out of Louisiana Purchase and

Shawn:

Pike was arrested, taken to jail, and then set free with some speculation that

Shawn:

Wilkinson told him to do that, to see how far he could launch into Mexico from

Shawn:

Louisiana purchase before he got caught.

Shawn:

And so Pike was part of this

Scott:

Oh wow.

Shawn:

And then Burr went on his own expedition.

Shawn:

And so his involved people like Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay

Shawn:

and a guy named Hyron Harron.

Shawn:

Lenner has it from Lenner Hazard Island between West Virginia and Ohio.

Shawn:

All these kind of very famous Western lawyers and big name people out west who

Shawn:

were like, we also want to take out Spain.

Shawn:

And so again, we don't know what happened necessarily, but we do know that Burr at

Shawn:

some point started building what could be perceived as an army, and a Navy,

Shawn:

and sailed from Lenner Hazard Island down the Ohio River with a Flotilla that

Shawn:

was backed by lots of people with money like Jackson, who had invited him to the

Shawn:

Hermitage and supported this endeavor.

Scott:

Oh, okay.

Shawn:

they ended up floating down the Mississippi and they ended up

Shawn:

setting up basically a base camp in Mississippi, in Natchez, Mississippi.

Shawn:

That's what we knew.

Shawn:

. So,

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So, so to be honest, right.

Scott:

Again, I can see how that might make the, the current make Jefferson nervous,

Scott:

a little

Scott:

bit

Shawn:

But the thing

Scott:

know, not saying that what he did was right, but I

Scott:

can see how he'd be like, oh

Scott:

yeah, I think

Scott:

you're trying to

Shawn:

be great, except for the fact that it was so out in the open, like

Shawn:

everybody knew what was happening.

Shawn:

These were like prominent people and they were writing letters to Jefferson, Hey,

Shawn:

do you know what Aaron Burr is doing?

Shawn:

Do you know that Aaron Burr is drifting down the Ohio River?

Shawn:

And it's not like it was a day trip.

Shawn:

It took a while, and Jefferson knew about it for like a year

Shawn:

and didn't do anything about it.

Jenn:

yeah.

Shawn:

I'm just like, well keep monitoring it with the situation.

Shawn:

When it became politically expedient with his embargo act that suddenly

Shawn:

we were gonna be at war with France, possibly England, possibly, and he

Shawn:

didn't want Spain getting riled up.

Shawn:

Then he decided it was time to arrest.

Shawn:

But we don't know what happened, . We don't know what happened.

Shawn:

Burr's side of the story was they were going to set up a new territory

Shawn:

in Mississippi that he was gonna establish a life there and be a

Shawn:

political kind of force in, in the west.

Shawn:

Probably most likely what they were gonna do was use it as an invasion

Shawn:

point to invade Mexico at Vera.

Shawn:

Cause he had apparently, according to people like Preble and Eaton who were

Shawn:

like in the Barbery wars, they saw his maps and his map was, we're gonna launch

Shawn:

a, an assault on Vera Cruzs March to Mexico City, which eventually we did.

Shawn:

The US Mexican war was basically, if that is to be true, Aaron Burr's

Shawn:

plan for the invasion of Mexico

Shawn:

And when he sold it

Scott:

Wow.

Shawn:

Napoleon's dossier that he also proposed this Napoleon.

Shawn:

And so when the French invaded Mexico, they use that plan.

Shawn:

But what happened was, as far as we know, James Wilkinson has a moment of panic.

Shawn:

Because he's allowed bur to Louisiana, Pike's been arrested.

Shawn:

Wilkinson is going to be implicated in this.

Shawn:

It's probably Wilkinson's whole plan and scheme.

Shawn:

Anyway, he was probably the one who wanted to cut the west from the east

Shawn:

cuz he wanted his own political power.

Shawn:

He doesn't pay being paid as a spy for Spain.

Shawn:

He starts sending correspondence to Jefferson and it's heavily edited

Shawn:

like you can see in his letters where he erased words and changed

Shawn:

words in his own handwriting.

Shawn:

The, the letters from Burr, like, they'll say things, then he,

Shawn:

there's this eraser mark and it's totally different handwriting.

Shawn:

Like, I'm gonna secede the west, I'm gonna take down America, or things like that.

Shawn:

It was clearly

Scott:

it's, it's like if my, my kid, my kids are trying to, get,

Scott:

get outta school and they just

Scott:

Erase it and try to really fake my signature there.

Shawn:

and so suddenly Jefferson's like, oh, we can't have this.

Shawn:

And so he sends out, Soldiers to arrest Brewer.

Shawn:

They chase burs of the South.

Shawn:

He's eventually arrested like Alabama ish area.

Shawn:

Wilkinson also sends out people to find Burr first, cuz then

Shawn:

he is like, oh, wait a minute,

Scott:

Mm-hmm.

Shawn:

what if Burr does get arrested?

Shawn:

And then he sings on me.

Shawn:

So like, it's a race to Kebo.

Shawn:

There's a really good book called Jefferson and the Gunman that's

Shawn:

like all about the race to catch bird, who's gonna win the race.

Shawn:

Burr was eventually knocked out, put on horseback and dragged to Virginia.

Shawn:

At one point he jumped off the horse and he demanded sanctuary in South Carolina.

Shawn:

I am the vice president, please somebody save me.

Shawn:

But he ended up in Richmond at the trial.

Shawn:

And there was obviously all these things going on.

Shawn:

John Marshall was presiding.

Shawn:

They had the pre-hearing where Jefferson was keeping the documents

Shawn:

of why Burr was guilty from the court.

Shawn:

Marshall demanded Jefferson declared executive privilege the first time

Shawn:

executive privilege is declared.

Shawn:

Jefferson says, I don't have to give you why.

Shawn:

No, he is guilty.

Shawn:

And Marshall's like, you have to let me know why he is guilty.

Shawn:

It's a trial.

Shawn:

And so Jefferson, the strict constructivist tries to expand

Shawn:

the definition of treason, loosely into what Burr was doing.

Shawn:

And Marshall's like no, treason is an actual overt act of treason planning

Shawn:

stuff doesn't constitute treason.

Shawn:

And you have no overt act.

Shawn:

There's no point, there's no civil war happening that you're saying

Shawn:

there is Burr is innocent and they, to prove treason constitution.

Shawn:

He two witnesses.

Shawn:

The only witness was James Wilkinson Burden had, they

Shawn:

didn't have two witnesses.

Shawn:

The witnesses they had that stood up were clearly outta their mind.

Shawn:

They were dismissed and Burr was dismissed.

Shawn:

And then Jefferson wasn't happy and had him tried all over the place

Shawn:

and all the states he ventured to.

Shawn:

And Henry Clay was his lawyer in Kentucky and.

Shawn:

Burr left.

Shawn:

He's like, I can't do this.

Shawn:

And he fled to Europe and went to England, tried to sell his

Scott:

That's when he

Shawn:

And then tried to sell his plan to France and Napoleon wouldn't

Shawn:

let him out of France because he didn't want some other leader

Shawn:

knowing about his plans from Mexico.

Shawn:

And Jefferson wanted him there cause he didn't want Burr coming back.

Shawn:

Eventually Burr had to sneak back in the country in 1812, dressed

Shawn:

as a Frenchman with a goatee and a mustache that his name was Adolphus.

Scott:

Oh my gosh.

Shawn:

But his luggage said ab.

Jenn:

when Theodosia goes to see him.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And that's when Theodosia goes to

Jenn:

see

Shawn:

her letter says, I'm back in

Shawn:

New York, and that's early 1812.

Shawn:

She doesn't know at the time Aaron Burr had died.

Shawn:

His, her son, his only grandson who he called Gampi.

Jenn:

Yes.

Shawn:

and she was sick from the death and it had been a rough childbirth.

Shawn:

Anyway, she'd been really sick since she gave birth to him.

Shawn:

It led to a lot of fever and internal bleeding.

Shawn:

And so she wasn't able to leave till December 31st and she set sail with his

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

It's, we

Shawn:

see him.

Scott:

with his papers.

Shawn:

all we know is that a British fleet, cuz it's about the war.

Shawn:

It's the war of 1812.

Shawn:

And so a British fleet pulled the patriot over, pull over , and did a

Shawn:

check, said that she was on board.

Shawn:

That was the last time we heard of her.

Shawn:

Then she vanished and either, like you said in the video, a hurricane destroyed

Shawn:

the boat, which is obviously very likely.

Shawn:

But in 1820 there were two pirates in a jail cell in New Orleans who

Shawn:

said that they had killed her.

Shawn:

That they'd taken her and killed her and made her walk the plank.

Shawn:

and she drowned,

Shawn:

burr would for the two months cuz nobody knew what happened to the ship.

Shawn:

And Olson was out of his mind, Burr was out of his mind.

Shawn:

Burr would go down to the New York Harbor every day and stand

Shawn:

on the harbor for hours they said.

Shawn:

And just wait for the ship to come in

Scott:

Oh.

Shawn:

never came in.

Shawn:

And so, but, and the letters stopped being written, so

Scott:

yeah.

Scott:

Ship graveyard.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Well, this is, Sean, this is awesome.

Scott:

This, this is, this has been absolutely amazing.

Scott:

We've been, we've been going for an hour, and I feel like it

Scott:

went by in about five minutes,

Scott:

It's amazing to me, all I could think about, when you were telling me all

Scott:

the things that, that Aaron Bur was doing, I was like, this guy was a

Scott:

busy.

Scott:

man.

Scott:

He did all this stuff.

Scott:

He was in, he was involved in all this different politics and all this mm-hmm.

Scott:

, all these different things and like, doing questionable things with a

Scott:

flotilla down the, down the Mississippi.

Scott:

You know why his decision or not, and then runs off to Europe and he is

Scott:

interacting with Napoleon in different countries and comes back and, yeah.

Scott:

All these crazy things.

Shawn:

They would talk about how Burr was alone and you just, you'd see

Shawn:

this guy shuffling up and down the streets of New York and people were

Shawn:

like, well, that's, that's Aaron Burr.

Shawn:

And he'd ride boats on the, he'd ride ferries to Wee Hawking and he'd

Shawn:

write letters about, that time I shot my friend Alexander Hamilton.

Shawn:

And the great part about the musical that I do love is when they they quote

Shawn:

his journal, which is, if I had been smart enough or if I'd been, kind enough

Shawn:

or patient enough, I would've seen the world was big enough for both of us.

Shawn:

That comes directly from his journal.

Shawn:

He says, if I had read more

Scott:

That's

Shawn:

of these books rather than these books, I would've seen that It's

Shawn:

a, he Tristan Shandy or something.

Shawn:

He reads a guy who has a fly and then lets the fly flat of the window

Shawn:

instead of killing it, and he says, if I had, read more of those books than

Shawn:

less of the other books, then I could have seen The world was big enough

Shawn:

for Hamilton and I'd live together.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

How often do you meet your Aaron Bur society?

Jenn:

Do you meet monthly and do you meet in person?

Shawn:

They, the Borough Association meets basically right now, twice a year.

Shawn:

We, we, with Covid, we started meeting on his birthday, which

Shawn:

again is when the dues are dues.

Shawn:

Sorry, Stewart, if you're watching, they're coming, which is February 6th

Shawn:

which at my house means birthday cake and it's, we celebrate Aaron birthday, cause

Scott:

Aw, nice.

Scott:

Aw, that's awesome.

Shawn:

Usually they meet for a week long conference in September,

Shawn:

October revolving around something that has to do with Aaron Burr.

Shawn:

So this year they're meeting in Virginia.

Shawn:

Charlottesville.

Shawn:

They're gonna go to Monticello.

Shawn:

They're gonna go to James Madison's house.

Shawn:

James Monroe's house.

Shawn:

They're gonna get tours of all of that because it's such an

Shawn:

important part of Burr's life

Shawn:

people are interested in the Borough Association, I can definitely give you

Shawn:

guys the address that they can inquire from our president, Stuart Johnson, who

Shawn:

is so a lot of the Borough Association is descendants of Aaron Burr's cousins.

Shawn:

Because obviously he has no official direct descendants.

Scott:

Yeah, we'll put the Yes, send, definitely send me the information cuz

Scott:

for anybody watching or listening, , I'll, I'll put that information in , the video

Scott:

description of the podcast description.

Scott:

, and Sean, , this is, this has been incredibly educational

Scott:

for someone like me.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

I love and really, really interesting the stories that you've been telling.

Scott:

I, I'm, , It's a little bit mind blowing for me, , for one single

Scott:

person like this who's really remembered for a couple things , and

Scott:

could be remembered for so much more.

Shawn:

That's usually what people ask me is where do I start?

Shawn:

Where do I jump off to learn about Aaron Burr?

Scott:

Yeah, absolutely.

Shawn:

I, of always recommend Arnold Drogas book a Fatal Friendship.

Shawn:

If you can find a copy of it, it, I think does the best job

Shawn:

of being kind to both of them.

Shawn:

So obviously you have like Joseph Ellis, founding Brothers, where Burr

Shawn:

is a villain in that book and you have turnout's book that is obviously

Shawn:

the gold standard of Hamilton.

Shawn:

But I like this book because it just portrays that their sad

Shawn:

destiny of how they both were raised the same way and their lives and

Shawn:

intertwined and law and friendship.

Shawn:

And it's just the, the breakdown of a friendship to the point where one

Shawn:

friend kills the other and has to deal with that the rest of their.

Shawn:

it does a lot of great research in it.

Shawn:

So I would say if you're gonna start somewhere, start with

Shawn:

Arnold RGAs, fatal Friendship.

Shawn:

There's a lot of great new books, Nancy Eisenberg, HW Brands, lot of

Shawn:

lot of bur books coming out that people are starting to, to write.

Scott:

Sean, thank you so much for joining us, Mike, this, this really

Scott:

has been super fun because I can tell, just like Jen here, right?

Scott:

You truly do have a, a passion for this historical topic.

Scott:

And when someone has a passion like this for a topic on history, it's so

Scott:

much more fun to, to learn mm-hmm.

Scott:

about that topic from that person, from you.

Scott:

So I, I really do

Scott:

appreciate you coming

Shawn:

you guys having me on.

Scott:

with us tonight.

Scott:

And for anyone else listening, if you know anyone else that might enjoy this podcast,

Scott:

please share it with them, especially if they are an Aaron Burr fan because

Scott:

we rely on you, our community to grow.

Scott:

And we appreciate y'all every day.

Scott:

We'll talk to you next time.

About the Podcast

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Talk With History
A Historian and Navy Veteran talk about traveling to historic locations

About your hosts

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Scott B

Host of the Talk With History podcast, Producer over at Walk with History on YouTube, Editor of HistoryNewsletter.com
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Jennifer B

Former Naval Aviator turned Historian and a loyal Penn Stater. (WE ARE!) I earned my Masters in American History and graduate certificate in Museum Studies, from the University of Memphis.

The Talk with History podcast gives Scott and me a chance to go deeper into the details of our Walk with History YouTube videos and gives you a behind-the-scenes look at our history-inspired adventures.

Join us as we talk about these real-world historic locations and learn about the events that continue to impact you today!

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Thank you for the great podcasts and for sharing your passion! Love hearing about the locations you visit.